Gone are the days when only a few major hotel chains dominated the landscape -- and booking a hotel meant choosing between a high style, high priced hotel and a boring, bland, budget chain. More and more boutique brands have entered the market, and legacy brands like Marriott and Hilton are starting offshoots that appeal to savvy travelers who want beautiful design and smart amenities at a reasonable price. These are some of the best new value-oriented hotel brands.
The ARRIVE brand of boutique hotels only has one location—Palm Springs—but there’s a second under construction. In Palm Springs, the industrial-chic hotel has 32 rooms and an on-site restaurant and coffee shop serving locally roasted beans. Each room has a king-sized bed, rain shower, Apple TV, Malin & Goetz bath products, plenty of natural light, and a design palette of rusted steel, wood, and concrete. Plenty of communal terraces and poolside decks encourage socializing while private patios offer tranquility. The second location, in Austin, Texas, will open open in spring of 2019 with 83 rooms. Room rates are expected to start at $199 per night. Rooms in Palm Springs start at $159 per night.
Tru by Hilton
When Hilton set out to create a value-based brand aimed at millennials, they reconsidered everything about traditional hotels. The result is Tru by Hilton, a mid-range chain of hip, stylish, and slightly unconventional hotels. Instead of an onsite restaurant, there’s Eat. & Sip., a 24-hour market to grab local snacks and drinks including single-serve beer and wine. The lobby has been designed as a place to congregate and socialize, with table and board games and sound-absorbing alcoves, plenty of outlets, complimentary coffee, and wireless printing. There’s a fitness center with workout ideas available on a tablet. And the free “Top It” breakfast bar includes 30 sweet and savory toppings to build your own breakfast. There are currently nine locations, in such untypical locales as Tallahassee, Lancaster, and Cheyenne. Room rates start at around $100 per night.
Aloft by Starwood
With 100 Aloft hotels in 16 countries around the world, it's is one of the larger chains on this list. The brand was created for the “early adopter, always-on, evolving global traveler” and has a distinctively hip and youthful feel with a focus on innovation in music, design, and technology. For example, there’s Botlr, the robot butler, and Emoji Room Service. Live at Aloft Hotels brings acoustics performances by emerging artists, and each hotel has a Re:mix lounge and W XYZ™ bar. Re:fuel offers grab-and-go snacks and light meals and Re:charge lets guests get a workout in at any time of day. The hotel’s signature design elements include 9-foot ceilings, industrial influences, and a focus on high-tech amenities like free wifi, mobile check-in, keyless entry, plug-n-play docking stations, and four-panel video walls. Rates vary widely by city but generally range from $100-$200 per night.
25hours by Accor
The 25hours chain has ten hotels in six cities, including Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Vienna, Berlin, and Zurich. Each one is unique and reflects the ethos of the city in which it’s found, but some of the common amenities include rooftop terraces, saunas, complimentary use of mini cars, bike rentals, and even an Airstream food truck. Rooms, likewise, come in a variety of styles and sizes, but feature in-room bluetooth speakers, large windows, comfortable beds, air conditioning, and location-specific decor. Some even have hammocks. Rates vary but start at around $100 per night.
Don’t let the word hostel scare you away. Generator offers private double and twin rooms (as well as dorm bunks) with an emphasis on affordable luxury, social interaction, and beautiful design. Located in several cities in Europe—Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamburg, London, Rome, Stockholm, Venice and Paris—it’s Europe’s fastest growing hostel brand. Every location features common areas for socializing, bike rentals, 24-hour reception, laundry facilities, bars, cafes, and terraces, and some have luxury apartments with kitchens. Private rooms have en suite bathrooms. Rates vary by city but start at low as $60 per night.
EVEN by IHG
EVEN hotels offer more than just a place to sleep. The chain is geared towards travelers who place a high priority on staying healthy away from home and offers several wellness-focused amenities. Of course every location has a fitness room with machines and group classes, but the hotel also makes it easy to get your workout using your own in-room equipment and fitness videos on demand. Amenities like ergonomic workstations, natural eucalyptus fiber bedding, spa-like bathrooms, and eco-friendly products focus on whole-body wellness. And the Cork & Kale™ Market and Bar offers healthy food that caters to a variety of dietary lifestyles. There are currently six EVEN hotels in New York, Brooklyn, DC, Omaha, and Norwalk, with six more on the way. Rates vary but start at around $130-$200.
Moxy by Marriott
The Moxy brand launched in 2015 and now has ten hotels, including two in the US (Tempe and New Orleans) and eight in Europe (Scotland, Germany, England, and Austria), with 50 more planned for the next two years. On the list for the US: New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and another in New Orleans. Described as “a boutique hotel with the social heart of a hostel,” it aims to appeal to millennials who want high style at a low price. The hotels offer wifi, a 24/7 bar, complimentary coffee in the lobby, games, and grab-and-go bites. Rooms are smartly designed, eschewing closets for extra space and 42” TVs. Rates vary by location, but start at around $75 per night.